Two of the three Collier County sheriff's deputies sued by Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson — who alleged they'd used excessive force when arresting him during a 2003 New Year's Eve party in Naples, Florida — have filed a countersuit claiming the guitarist assaulted them when they attempted to escort his son Justin Zivojinovich from the event at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
According to The Associated Press, the suit follows the June filing of Lifeson's action, which seeks unspecified monetary damages for injuries, pain and suffering, mental anguish and legal defense fees (see "Rush Guitarist Sues Over Florida Hotel Altercation"). The Ritz-Carlton, which was also named in Lifeson's suit, is listed as a plaintiff in the countersuit filed over the weekend.
The countersuit argues that the sheriff's deputies acted properly when they arrested Lifeson's son, the AP reports; Justin Zivojinovich was charged with resisting arrest with violence.
Lifeson (born Alex Zivojinovich) was celebrating the advent of 2004 with relatives and friends at the hotel when the incident occurred (see "Rush Guitarist Considers Suit Alleging Police Brutality"). Lifeson's son and some of his friends climbed onto a performance platform while the house band was taking a break. Security called deputies in to escort Justin from the premises.
Lifeson was also charged with two felonies that evening. He tried to intervene and stop police from executing the arrest; they allegedly responded by breaking his nose and zapping him four times with a stun gun. In April, Lifeson and his son pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge and received a year of probation.
The countersuit, which doesn't specify monetary damages, claims Lifeson shoved one officer down a stairwell, and spit blood in another officer's face.
Responding to the countersuit, Lifeson's attorney, Paul Weekley, told the AP that the two deputies were the aggressors, and that his client was acting in self-defense.